V. I.   Lenin

The State of Affairs in the Party

Written: Written not later than December 15 (28), 1910
Published: Published on December 23 or 24, 1910 (January 5 or 6, 1911) as a reprint from the supplement to Sotsial-Demokrat, No. 19–20. Published according to the text of the reprint verified with the text in the supplement to Sotsial-Demokrat No. 19–20.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1974], Moscow, Volume 17, pages 23-38.
Translated: Dora Cox
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2004). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

The question of the crisis in our Party has again been given priority by the Social-Democratic press abroad, leading to stronger rumours, perplexity and vacillation among wide Party circles. It is, therefore, essential for the Central Organ of the Party to clarify this question in its entirety. Martov’s article in Golos, No. 23, and Trotsky’s statement of November 26, 1910 in the form of a “resolution” of the “Vienna Club”, published as a separate leaflet, present the question to the reader in a manner which completely distorts the essence of the matter.

Martov’s article and Trotsky’s resolution conceal definite practical actions—actions directed against the Party. Martov’s article is simply the literary expression of a campaign launched by the Golos group to sabotage the Central Committee of our Party. Trotsky’s resolution, which calls upon organisations in the localities to prepare for a “general Party conference “independent of, and against, the Central Commit tee, expresses the very aim of the Golos group—to destroy the central bodies so detested by the liquidators, and with them, the Party as an organisation. It is not enough to lay bare the anti-Party activities of Golos and Trotsky; they must be fought. Comrades to whom the Party and its revival are dear must come out most resolutely against all those who, guided by purely factional and narrow circle considerations and interests, are striving to destroy the Party.

Martov’s article “Where Have We Landed?” is poorly disguised mockery of the Plenary Meeting’s decisions and the rejoicing of a liquidator over the adversities suffered by the Party. “Not once did they succeed in convening in   Russia the Collegium of the Central Committee although it consists of only a few members”—this is how Martov writes, using italics, as if bubbling over with the pleasure all liquidators will derive from the publication of this fact.

Unfortunately, what Martov says is true. The Russian Central Committee has riot succeeded in meeting. But Martov is mistaken if he thinks that he can evade the question as to who sabotaged the work of the Central Committee in Russia. It was not only the police who hindered the holding of the meeting, in addition to the police there was one obstacle of a political nature. That obstacle was the well-known refusal by Mikhail, Roman, and Yuri to attend a meeting of the Central Committee even if only to co-opt new members, and their statement that they “consider the very existence of the Central Committee harmful”.

It cannot be denied that refusal to attend even one meeting for the purpose of co-option, refusal to attend at the invitation of people who carry on their work amid a host of obstacles placed in their way by the police, means sabotaging the work of the Central Committee. Nor can it be denied that this political act, accompanied by a statement that its motives were matters of principle, was carried out by members of the group of “most prominent” Golos contributors in Russia (the letter of the sixteen[6] in Golos, No. 19–20), who are also members of the liquidationist legal groups of Potresov and Co. All these are facts. The group of independent legalists, the enemies of the Social-Democratic Party—these are the people who sabotaged the work of the Central Committee in Russia.

When Axelrod asserts (in Golos, No. 23) that the “label” of liquidator is tacked on “indiscriminately”, when lie stoops even to such nonsense as to state that we are capable of calling a liquidator someone who is physically tired or crushed by the struggle for his daily bread; when, indulging as he does in this kind of infantile twaddle, he maintains silence about that particular group and those very groups of liquidators who have been mentioned in the Central Organ of the Party by name, then there is no need to prove the unscrupulousness of such subterfuges. When Martov and other Golos people pretend to “argue” in Golos against the liquidators   in Russia, declaring that their acts are “frivolous” (!), and exhorting” them to wait a little longer (Martov on Levitsky in No. 23), and at the same time work hand in glove with them, and, together with them, form a separate faction abroad for the purpose of fighting the Party and lending support to its enemies, such as Mr. Potresov, we can see in this but one of many manifestations of political hypocrisy. No politically-minded person will say that Mr. Milyukov is seriously fighting the Vekhi[7] writers when he “argues” with them, declares them to be “frivolous”, and at the same time works hand in glove with them politically. Everyone will see that this only proves Mr. Milyukov’s hypocrisy, and by no means disproves his political solidarity with Vekhi. No politically-minded person will say that Mr. Stolypin and his government are seriously fighting the Black Hundreds[8] when he “argues” with them (in Rossiya[9]), accuses them of “frivolity”, but at the same time works hand in glove with them. Everyone will see that Mr. Stolypin and the tear’s government thereby prove nothing but their hypocrisy, that this by no means disproves the fact of their political solidarity with the Purishkeviches.

But if everyone is clear about the political hypocrisy of Golos, Martov’s hint that “legality finishes” the official representatives of the Party cannot be clear to 999 out of 1,000 readers, because it is a deliberately vague hint.

It is the duty of the Central Organ to disperse any haze enveloping our Party affairs, so that the substance of the differences may become clear to everyone.

What Martov means is that, apart from a decision of the Central Committee, there is no other way out of the crisis that would conform to Party legality. Consequently, since the liquidators in Russia have succeeded in sabotaging the work of the Central Committee there (and if the liquidators abroad succeed in preventing the Central Committee from meeting even outside Russia), there will be no legal way out of the situation. And Martov rejoices in advance: the Central Committee, he says, has been completely wrecked, there is no legal way out, and the liquidators, ire thinks, have won their game.

Martov was in too much of a hurry. He has blurted out too soon what Mr. Potresov and the other enemies of the Party have kept to themselves.

Yes, Martov is right! The Central Committee alone can find the way out of the crisis in the Party. Hence, if, on account of police obstacles, and on account of the above-mentioned political obstacles, the Central Committee is prevented from meeting in Russia, it must be convened abroad. This is the only way of approaching a solution to the crisis. The Bolsheviks, one of the Party trends that concluded at the last Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee the agreement which provided for joint Party work out side the factions, took measures to hasten the only possible solution to the Party crisis. The representatives of the Bolshevik group placed its property at the disposal of the Party, on condition that simultaneously with the dissolution of its own group centre, those of the Mensheviks (the Golos group) and the otzovists (the Vperyod group) would also be dissolved. This has not been done. What is more, Golos Sotsial-Demokrata (the leading organ of the Golos group), has deliberately taken under its wing and protection the enemies within the Party, whom the Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee unanimously instructed us to fight most resolutely, as representing bourgeois and anti-Party deviations from Social-Democracy. In view of this obvious violation of the terms of the agreement concluded at the Plenary Meeting between all the Party trends and groups, in view of the obvious anti-Party policy of one of the parties to the agreement, the Bolsheviks thought it necessary to demand the return of the funds which a year before they had placed at the disposal of the Party on definite conditions. On December 5, 1910, they filed an application to this effect with the Central Committee Bureau Abroad. Whether the Bolsheviks were right or wrong in acting as they did will be determined by the body appointed by the Plenary Meeting. The point is that now, since the representatives of the Bolshevik trend have filed their application, it is imperative to convene a plenary meeting of the Central Committee abroad, and not only for the purpose of finding a way out of the internal crisis in the Party; it is imperative as a step dictated to all the trends and groups which concluded   the agreement of January 6, 1910, according to the obligation they themselves assumed, in the resolution which they themselves adopted unanimously.[1] The convocation of a plenary meeting of the Central Committee has become not only a necessity in the interests of the Party, it has become a juridical obligation. We see again that there can be no legal way out of the situation, other than the convening of a plenary meeting of the Central Committee....

It is on this point that the policy of the Golos group immediately revealed itself.

It would appear that, according to the clear and unequivocal decision of the Central Committee, the only thing for its Bureau Abroad to do, in view of the application filed by the Bolsheviks, was to call a plenary meeting; and only if the attempts to convene it in the course of three months failed, was the Bureau to resort to the other method of settling the question as provided by the Central Committee. But the Golos group acted differently.

On December 12, Igorev of Golos, a member of the Central Committee Bureau Abroad, filed a written statement in which he declared that he was against calling a plenary meeting and would agree only to a commission.

It is obvious wherein lies the rub: a plenary meeting is a sovereign body and, if it were convened, could find a legal way out of the crisis, a legal way out of the impossible state of affairs in Russia. A commission on the other hand, is not a sovereign body, it has no rights (except that of examining the Bolsheviks’ claim to their funds); it cannot find any legal way out of the crisis.

The saying has proved true—he who diggeth a pit shall fall into it.

The kind-hearted Martov had hardly shown the Party the “pit” of the allegedly hopeless, from the legal point of view, situation in which the liquidators would be so happy to see the official Party) when Igorev of Golos found himself in that very pit!

The Russian liquidators have sabotaged the work of the Central Committee in Russia. Now the liquidators abroad are trying to prevent the meeting of the Central Committee outside Russia. The liquidators are happy in anticipation of that greatest of joys (for Stolypin and for the liquidators)—the absence of any Central Committee. What a boon that would be for the Potresovs and for the Vperyod faction!

We shall not dwell here on the subterfuges of Igorev of the Golos group and on their refutation in the counter-statement filed by a Bolshevik member of the Central Committee Bureau Abroad.[2] We shall only note the fact that Igorev of Golos obligingly and bluntly declared that he would protest against a plenary meeting even if it were convened in conformity with the general Rules (for which a unanimous decision of the Central Committee Bureau Abroad is required), and not by the adoption of a special decision based on an application. In the opinion of Igorev of Golos a plenary meeting is “unwieldy”, etc. Naturally—since for the liquidators the very existence of our illegal Party is too “unwieldy”. The other “reason” advanced by Igorev is that the plenary meeting would be made up mostly of exiles. But this does not prevent the Golos group from lending every support to Trotsky’s purely émigré plan of calling a “general Party” conference independently of, and against, the Central Committee....

The Golos group have decided to disrupt any and every attempt to convene the Central Committee.

Further, we must draw the attention of Party members to a more general problem—the state of affairs in the R.S.D.L.P. Like every revolutionary party, our Party can exist and develop only if there is at least an elementary desire   on the part of revolutionaries to help one another in carrying out common work.

If the Party Rules and decisions (the Party’s “legality”) do not serve to facilitate this joint work, but are used as pretexts for people in some of the most important Party bodies to hamper this work from within, then Party work becomes an indignified farce. In any other party the difficulties attending the convening of the Central Committee would have led at once to dozens of ways and means being found to circumvent police obstacles, they would have produced a host of new methods of work. We, however, find factionalists inside the Party, some of whom serve the Potresovs, and others the out-and-out otzovists and semi-anarchists, outside the Party. In the hands of people like Igorev of Golos, “legality” is converted into an instrument for damaging the Party from within, for hampering its work, for helping the Potresovs to destroy the Party[3] . This is an impossible situation. And it will not be remedied by “well-meaning resolutions” which Martov legitimately holds up to ridicule. In order to help matters, we must, first of all, understand them. We must understand why it is absurd, unbecoming, and ridiculous to concoct well-meaning resolutions about joint work with gentlemen like Potresov and Co. Once the Party realises that we have here two incompatible policies, that it is a question of Social-Democracy versus liberalism, it will rapidly find a way out. Then we shall succeed in creating a “legality” which the liquidators will be unable to use as a means of tripping up the Party.

It must be admitted that Mr. Potresov and his friends, as well as Igorev of Golos, deserve our thanks for the successful way in which they are helping the Party to realise this.

Trotsky’s statement, though outwardly entirely unconnected with Martov’s jeering at the adversities of the Party, and with the attempts of the Golos supporters to sabotage the Central Committee, is actually connected with the one   and the other by inseverable ties, by the ties of “interest”. There are many Party members who still fail to see this connection. The Vienna resolution of November 26, 1910, will undoubtedly help them understand the essence of the matter.

The resolution consists of three parts: (1) a declaration of war against Rabochaya Gazeta (a call to “rebuff it resolutely” as one of the “new factional group undertakings”, using Trotsky’s expression); (2) polemics against the line of the Bolshevik-Plekhanov “bloc”; (3) a declaration that the “meeting of the Vienna Club [i.e., Trotsky and his circle][4] resolves: to organise a general Party fund for the purpose of preparing and convening a conference of the R.S.D.L.P.”.

We shall not dwell on the first part at all. Trotsky is quite right in saying that Rabochaya Gazeta is a “private undertaking”, and that “it is not authorised to speak in the name of the Party as a whole”.

Only Trotsky should not have forgotten to mention that he and his Pravda are not authorised to speak in the name of the Party either. In saying that the Plenary Meeting recognised the work of Pravda as useful, he should not have forgotten to mention that it appointed a representative of the Central Committee to the Editorial Board of Pravda. When Trotsky, in referring to ’the Meeting’s decisions on Pravda, fails to mention this fact, all one can say about it is that he is deceiving the workers. And this deception on the part of Trotsky is all the more malicious, since in August1910 Trotsky removed the representative of the Central Committee from Pravda. Since that incident, since Pravda has severed its relations with the Central Committee, Trotsky’s paper is nothing but a “private undertaking”, and one, moreover, that has failed to carry out the obligations it assumed. Until the Central Committee meets again, the only judge of the relations between Pravda and the Central Committee is the Central Committee representative appoint ed by the Plenary Meeting who has declared that Trotsky behaved in a manner hostile to the Party.

That is what emerges from the question, so opportunely raised by Trotsky, as to who is “authorised to speak in the name of the Party as a whole”.

Nor is that all. Inasmuch as (and so long as) the legalist liquidator-independents obstruct the Central Committee in Russia, and inasmuch as (and so long As) the Golos group obstruct the Central Committee abroad, the sole body authorised “to speak in the name of the Party as a whole” is the Central Organ.

Therefore, we declare, in the name of the Party as a whole, that Trotsky is pursuing an anti-Party policy; that, by failing to make the least mention of the Central Committee in his resolution (as if he had already come to an understanding with Golos that the work of the Central Committee would be sabotaged), and by announcing in the name of one group abroad the “organisation of a fund for the purpose of convening a conference of the R.S.D.L.P.”, he is contravening Party legality and is embarking on the path of adventurism and a split. If the efforts of the liquidators to sabotage the work of the Central Committee meet with success, we, as the sole body authorised to speak in the name of the Party as a whole, will immediately declare that we take no part whatever in Trotsky’s “fund” or in his venture, and that we shall recognise as a general Party conference only one convened by the Central Organ, not one convened by Trotsky’s circle.[5]

But so long as events have not brought about the final wrecking of the Central Committee, there is still hope for a way out that is entirely legal from the Party point of view.

While calling upon Party members to fight resolutely for this solution based on Party legality, we shall try to investigate “the fundamental principles” of the differences which the Golos group and Trotsky are in a hurry to carry to the point of a split—the former, by obstructing the work of the Central Committee, and the latter, by ignoring it and “organising a fund” for the purpose of convening a   “conference of the R.S.D.L.P.” (no joke!) by Trotsky’s circle.

Trotsky writes in his resolution that at present “there is no basis for the struggle on principle” being waged by the “Leninists and Plekhanovites” (in thus substituting personalities for the trends of Bolshevism and pro-Party Menshevism, Trotsky aims at disparagement, but succeeds only in expressing his own lack of understanding).

It is to investigate these fundamental principles that the Central Organ calls upon Social-Democrats throughout Russia—examine this very interesting question while the “uninteresting” struggle over the convocation of the plenary meeting is still going on.

We quote in full the reasons given by Trotsky for his statement that the struggle of the Central Organ is not justified by any basic difference of principle.

The conviction has taken firm root among all [Trotsky’s italics] Party trends, that it is necessary to restore the illegal organisation, to combine legal with illegal work, and to pursue consistent Social-Democratic tactics. These fundamental directives were unanimously adopted by the last Plenary Meeting.

The difficulty now, a year after the Meeting, is not the proclamation of these truths, but their application in practice. The way to achieve this is by harmonious work carried on jointly by all sections of the Party—the ‘Golos’, ‘Plekhanov’, ‘Leninist’, and ‘Vperyod’ groups, and the non-factionalists. The Party has already spiritually outgrown the period of its infancy, and it is time that all its members felt and acted as revolutionary Social-Democrats, as patriots of their Party and not as members of factions. This co-operation must take place within the framework of the Party as a whole, not around factional bodies.”

That is an example of how fine words are worn into shreds by phrase-mongering intended to disguise a monstrous untruth, a monstrous deception both of those who revel in phrase-mongering and of the whole Party.

It is a plain and crying untruth that all Party trends are convinced of the need to, revive the illegal organisation. Each issue of Golos shows that its writers regard Mr. Potresov’s group as a Party trend, and that not only do they “regard” it as such but that they systematically take part in its “work”. Is it not ridiculous, is it not disgraceful today, a year after the Plenary Meeting, to play at hide and seek, to deceive oneself and deceive the workers, to indulge in   verbal tricks, when it is a question, not of empty phrases, but of “application in practice”?

Yes or no? Does Trotsky regard the Potresovs who were specifically mentioned In the Central Organ, as a “Party trend” or not? This is precisely a question of the “application in practice” of the decisions of the Plenary Meeting, and it is now a year since it was posed by the Central Organ clearly, bluntly, and unambiguously, so that there could be no evasions!

Trotsky is trying again and again to evade the question by passing it over in silence or by phrase-mongering; for he is concerned to keep the readers and the Party ignorant of the truth, namely, that Mr. Potresov’s group, the group of sixteen, etc., are absolutely independent of the Party, represent expressly distinct factions, are not only doing nothing to revive the illegal organisation, but are obstructing its revival, and are not pursuing any Social-Democratic tactics. Trotsky is concerned with keeping the Party ignorant of the truth, namely, that the Golos group represent a faction abroad, similarly separated from the Party, and that they actually render service to the liquidators in Russia.

And what about the Vperyod group? Trotsky knows perfectly well that ever since the Plenary Meeting they have been strengthening and developing their separate faction, disposing of funds independently of the Party, and maintaining a separate factional school in which they teach, not “consistent Social-Democratic tactics”, but that “otzovism is a legal shade of opinion”; in which they teach otzovist views on the role of the Third Duma, views expressed in the factional platform of Vperyod.

Trotsky maintains silence on this undeniable truth, because the truth is detrimental to the real aims of his policy. The real aims, however, are becoming clearer and more obvious even to the least far-sighted Party members. They are: an anti-Party bloc of the Potresovs with the Vperyod group—a bloc which Trotsky supports and is organising. The adoption of Trotsky’s resolutions (like the “Vienna” one) by the Golos group, Pravda’s flirtation with the Vperyod group, Pravda’s allegations that only members of the Vperyod group and Trotsky’s group are active in the localities in Russia, the publicity given by Pravda to the Vperyod   factional school, Trotsky’s direct assistance to this school, these are all facts which cannot long remain concealed. Murder will out.

The substance of Trotsky’s policy is “harmonious work” carried on by Pravda together with the factions of the Potresovs and Vperyod. The various roles in this bloc have been clearly cast: Mr. Potresov and Co. are continuing their legalistic work, independently of the Party, work of destroying the Social-Democratic Party; the Golos group represent the foreign branch of this faction; and Trotsky has assumed the role of attorney, assuring the naïve public that “consistent Social-Democratic tactics” has taken “firm root among all Party trends”. The Vperyod group also enjoy the services of this attorney, who pleads their right to maintain a factional school and resorts to hypocritical and formal phrases in order to gloss over their policy. Naturally, this bloc will support Trotsky’s “fund” and the anti-Party conference which he is convening, for here the Potresovs and the Vperyod group are getting what they want, namely, freedom for their factions, blessings of the conference for those factions, a cover for their activity, and an attorney to defend that activity before the workers.

Therefore, it is from the standpoint of “fundamental principles” that we must regard this bloc as adventurism in the most literal meaning of the term. Trotsky does not dare to say that he sees in Potresov and in the otzovists real Marxists, real champions of loyalty to the principles of Social-Democracy. The essence of the position of an adventurer is that he must forever resort to evasions. For it is obvious and known to everyone that the Potresovs and the otzovists all have their own line (an anti-Social-Democratic line) and that they are pursuing it, while the diplomats of Golos and Vperyod only serve as a screen for them.

The most profound reason why this bloc is doomed to failure—no matter how great its success among the philistines and no matter how large the “funds” Trotsky may succeed in collecting with the assistance of Vperyod and Potresov’s “sources”—is that it is an unprincipled bloc. The theory of Marxism, “the fundamental principles” of our entire world outlook and of our entire Party programme and tactics, is now in the forefront of all Party life not by mere   chance, but because it is inevitable. It was no mere chance that since the failure of the revolution, all classes of society, the widest sections of the popular masses, have displayed a fresh interest in the very fundamentals of the world outlook, including the questions of religion and philosophy, and the principles of our Marxist doctrine as a whole; that was inevitable. It is no mere chance that the masses, whom the revolution drew into the sharp struggle over questions of tactics, have subsequently, in the period characterised by the absence of open struggle, shown a desire for general theoretical knowledge; that was inevitable. We must again explain the fundamentals of Marxism to these masses; the defence of Marxist theory is again on the order of the day. When Trotsky declares that the rapprochement between the pro-Party Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks is “devoid of political content” and “unstable”, he is thereby merely revealing the depths of his own ignorance, he is thereby demonstrating his own complete emptiness. For it is precisely the fundamental principles of Marxism that have triumphed as a result of the struggle waged by the Bolsheviks against the non-Social-Democratic ideas of Vperyod, and as a result of the struggle waged by the pro-Party Mensheviks against the Potresovs and Golos. It was precisely this rapprochement on the question of the fundamental principles of Marxism that constituted the real basis for really harmonious work between the pro-Party Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks during the whole year following the Plenary Meeting. This is a fact—not words, nor promises, nor “well-meaning resolutions”. And no matter what differences divided the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks in the past, and will divide them in future (only adventurers are capable of attracting the crowd with promises that the differences would be set aside, or that they would be “liquidated” by this or that resolution)—this fact cannot be expunged from history. Only the internal development of the principal factions themselves, only their own ideological evolution, can provide the guarantee that the factions will really be abolished as a result of their drawing closer together, as a result of their being tested in joint work. This began after the Plenary Meeting. We have so far not seen harmonious work between Potresov and the Vperyod group and Trotsky; all   we have seen is group diplomacy, juggling with words, solidarity in evasions. But the Party has seen the pro-Party Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks work in harmony for a whole year, and anyone who is capable of valuing Marxism, any one who holds dear the “fundamental principles” of Social-Democracy, will not doubt for a moment that nine-tenths of the workers belonging to both groups will be fully in favour of this rapprochement.

It is precisely from the standpoint of “fundamental principles” that Trotsky’s bloc with Potresov and the Vperyod group is adventurism. And it is equally so from the stand point of the Party’s political tasks. These tasks were indeed pointed out by the Plenary Meeting unanimously, but that does not mean that they can be reduced to that banal phrase—combining legal with illegal work (for the Cadets[10] also “combine” the legal Rech[11] with the illegal Central Committee of their party)—which Trotsky deliberately uses in order to please the Potresovs and the Vperyod group, who do not object to hollow phrases and platitudes.

The historical circumstances in which the Social-Democratic movement finds itself in the period of bourgeois counter-revolution,” the resolution of the Plenary Meeting states, “inevitably beget—as a manifestation of bourgeois influence upon the proletariat—on the ,one hand, the repudiation of the illegal Social-Democratic Party, the belittling of its role and importance, attempts to curtail the programmatical and tactical tasks and slogans of revolutionary Social-Democracy, etc.; and, on the other hand, repudiation of Social-Democratic work in the Duma and of the utilisation of opportunities for legal work, failure to appreciate the importance of the one and the other, inability to adapt revolutionary Social-Democratic tactics to the peculiar historical conditions of the present moment, etc.”

After a year’s experience, no one can evade a direct answer to the question as to the real meaning of these points. Nor must it be forgotten that at the Meeting all the representatives of the non-Russian nationalities (joined at the time by Trotsky, who is in the habit of joining any group that happens to be in the majority at the moment) declared in a written statement that “in point of fact it would be desirable to describe the trend mentioned in the resolution as liquidationism, against which it is essential to fight”.

The experience of the year since the Plenary Meeting has shown in practice that it is precisely Potresov groups   and the Vperyod faction that are the embodiment of this bourgeois influence upon the proletariat. The evasion of this obvious fact is what we call adventurism, for so far nobody has dared to say openly that the line of Potresov and his friends is not liquidationism, or that recognition of otzovism as “a legal shade of opinion” conforms to the line of the Party. The year that followed the Meeting has not been wasted on us. We have enriched our experience. We have seen the practical manifestation of the tendencies noted at the time. We have seen factions arise that embody those tendencies. And words about the “harmonious work” of these anti-Party factions in an allegedly “Party” spirit can no longer deceive any large sections of the workers.

Thirdly and lastly, Trotsky’s policy is adventurism in the organisational sense; for, as we have already pointed out, it violates Party legality; by organising a conference in the name of one group abroad (or of a bloc of two anti-Party factions—the Golos and Vperyod factions), it is directly making for a split. Since we are authorised to speak in the name of the whole Party, it is our duty to uphold Party legality to the end. But we by no means want the Party membership to see only the form of “legality” and to overlook the essence of the matter. On the contrary, we draw the main attention of Social-Democrats to the essence of the matter, which consists in the bloc formed by the Golos and Vperyod groups—a bloc which stands for full freedom for Potresov and his friends to engage in liquidationist activity and for the otzovists to destroy the Party.

We call upon all Social-Democrats to fight resolutely for Party legality, to fight the anti-Party bloc, for the sake of the fundamental principles of Marxism, and in order to purge Social-Democracy of the taint of liberalism and anarchism.


P. S. The publication of the above article in a special edition (decided on by the vote of a majority of the Editorial Board—two representatives of the Bolshevik trend and one representative of the Polish organisation) has led to a pro test (published as a separate leaflet) on the part of the two other members of the Editorial Board who belong to the Golos trend. The authors of the leaflet do not deal with the   contents of the article, The State of Affairs in the Party, on their merits, but accuse the majority of the Editorial Board (1) of violating their formal rights as co-editors, and (2) of committing an act of “police informing”. Since the dispute is not conducted on the plane of principles and tactics but along the lines of an organisational squabble and personal attacks, we consider that the most proper procedure is to refer it entirely to the Central Committee. We believe that, even before the Central Committee comes to a decision on this question, all Party comrades will be able to form a proper opinion of the “polemical” methods of the two members of the Editorial Board—Martov and Dan.


[1] * At the Plenary Meeting, the Central Committee entered into an agreement with certain representatives of the Bolshevik trend, providing for the conditional transfer of their funds to the Party. This agreement was recognised as Party law, as the source of Party legality. It was published in the Central Organ (No. 11), together with the entire procedure stipulated by the Meeting in connection with the agreement. The principal provision was, that if the Bolsheviks filed an application showing that the Golos and Vperyod trends violated the terms of amalgamation, a plenary meeting was to be called (abroad). The decision printed in No. 11 of the Central Organ, states: “Should it prove impossible for various reasons to arrange a plenary meeting within three months after the representatives of the Bolshevik trend have filed their application”, a special commission “is to be set up”. —Lenin

[2] In a letter addressed to the Central Organ this comrade requests us to help him inform the Party of the Golos group’s attempts to prevent the plenary meeting. —Lenin

[3] When Martov jeers at official Party institutions, saying that “legality finishes them”, he is right insofar as the fruitfulness of the Work is killed by such “legal” (i.e., created in accordance with the Party Rules or by decisions of the Plenary Meeting) forms of these institutions as permit Mikhail, Roman, Yuri, the Golos group (as represented by Igorev), etc., to hamper the work. —Lenin

[4] Interpolations in square brackets (within passages quoted by Lenin) have been introduced by Lenin, unless otherwise indicated.—Ed.

[5] That a general Party conference, one convened by the Central Committee of the Party, is really needed and should be called as soon as possible—of that there can be no question. —Lenin

[6] The letter of the sixteen—an open letter of the Menshevik-liquidators, their reply to G. V. Plekhanov’s statement in No. 9 of The Diary of a Social-Democrat (August 1909) against the liquidators and their leader, A. N. Potresov.

Lenin called the letter of the sixteen a “document, which ... will have the ill-fame attaching to the name of Herostratus”

[7] Vekhi group—contributors to a Cadet symposium entitled Vekhi (Landmarks), published in Moscow in the spring of 1909, containing articles by N. Berdyaev, S. Bulgakov, P. Struve, M. Herschensohn, and other representatives of the counter-revolutionary liberal bourgeoisie. In articles on the Russian intelligentsia these writers tried to discredit the revolutionary-democratic traditions of the best representatives of the Russian people, including V. G. Belinsky and N. 0. Chernyshevsky. They vilified the revolutionary movement of 1905, and thanked the tsarist government for having “with its bayonets and jails” saved the bourgeoisie from “the fury of the people”. They urged the intelligentsia to serve the autocracy. Lenin compared the philosophy and politics of Vekhi with that of the Black-Hundred newspaper Moskovskiye Vedomosti (Moscow Recorder), and called the symposium an “encyclopaedia of liberal renegacy”, “nothing but a flood of reactionary mud poured on democracy”.

[8] Black Hundreds—monarchist bands, set up by the tsarist police to fight the revolutionary movement. They murdered revolutionaries, assaulted progressive intellectuals, and organised anti-Jewish pogroms.

[9] Rossiya (Russia)—a daily newspaper of a reactionary Black-Hundred type published in St. Petersburg from November 1905 to April 1914. From 1906 it was the organ of the Ministry of the Interior. The newspaper was subsidised from the secret government fund put at the disposal of the Ministry of the Interior. Lenin called Rossiya a “venal police newspaper”.

[10]Cadets—members of the Constitutional-Democratic Party, the leading party of the liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie in Russia. Founded in October 1905, its membership was made up of representatives of the bourgeoisie, Zemstvo leaders of the landowning class, and bourgeois intellectuals. Its leading members were: P. N. Milyukov, S. A. Muromtsev, V. A. Maklakov, A. I. Shingaryov, P. B. Struve, F. I. Rodichev, and others. In order to hoodwink the working people, the Cadets hypocritically called themselves “the party of people’s freedom”, while in actual fact they did not go beyond the demand for a constitutional monarchy. They considered a struggle against the revolutionary movement to be their primary task; they hoped to share power with the tsar and the feudal landlords. During the First World War they actively sup ported the tsarist government’s predatory foreign policy, and did their best to save the monarchy during the bourgeois-democratic revolution of February 1917. Holding leading posts in the bourgeois Provisional Government they carried out a counter-revolutionary policy opposed to the interests of the people, but approved by U.S., British and French imperialists. After the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution the Cadets became irreconcilable enemies of Soviet power and actively participated in all armed counter-revolutionary acts and campaigns of the interventionists. They continued their anti-Soviet counter-revolutionary activities when they fled abroad after the rout of the interventionists and whiteguards.

[11] Rech (Speech)—a daily newspaper, the central organ of the Cadet Party, published in St. Petersburg from February 1906. It was closed down by the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet on October 26 (November 8), 1917.

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